6-Month-Old Baby Killed in Abortion After Fertility Clinic Implants Wrong Embryo

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 7, 2022   |   4:44PM   |   Washington, DC

A Massachusetts mother admitted to aborting another couple’s unborn baby at six months of pregnancy this month in a lawsuit accusing a fertility clinic of implanting her with the wrong embryo through in vitro fertilization.

The Daily Beast reports “Jane Doe” and her husband said they chose to have a late-term abortion because they “could not imagine carrying a stranger’s baby to term, only to potentially lose her in later legal battles to her biological parents, which would be devastating to the entire family.”

It is not clear if the Massachusetts family tried to find the biological parents of the baby girl, who “Doe” said had already begun kicking, before the abortion or if those parents are aware that their daughter was aborted.

The horrific story serves as a reminder of the many problems with in vitro fertilization, or IVF. The infertility procedure, which is now widely used, involves taking eggs and sperm from the mother and father and creating embryos outside the womb. Then, one or more embryos are implanted in the mother’s womb while others are frozen, potentially for later use.

For pro-life advocates, the biggest concern with the procedure is that fertility clinics often create more embryos than are used, and some are frozen indefinitely or destroyed. Though in the earliest stages of development, these embryos already are human beings with their own unique DNA.

Mix-ups, such as the one alleged by the Massachusetts couple, also have become a problem as more couples use IVF to have children.

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According to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan this week, specialists at the New York Fertility Institute implanted the wrong embryo into “Jane Doe” and then dismissing the Does’ concerns when DNA tests showed that the baby was not their biological child, the Washington Post reports. They also accuse the clinic of losing their embryos.

On July 7, 2021, one of the clinic specialists implanted the baby girl as an embryo into “Jane Doe’s” womb, the lawsuit states. Initially, the couple said they were excited to welcome this baby, their fourth child, into the world.

Several months into the pregnancy, they took a doctor’s advice to undergo genetic testing to see if the unborn baby had any abnormalities. Much to their shock, the test revealed that the baby was not biologically theirs, according to the lawsuit.

The specialists at the fertility clinic dismissed the findings, but more testing confirmed that the baby was not their biological child, the lawsuit continues.

“Ms. Doe and Mr. Doe did not know what to do,” the lawsuit states. “They had grown to love this baby, who had already begun kicking. On the one hand, they did not want to lose her even if she was not genetically related to them. On the other hand, they could not imagine carrying a stranger’s baby to term, only to potentially lose her in later legal battles to her biological parents, which would be devastating to the entire family.”

So, at six months of pregnancy, when the unborn baby girl was viable and capable of feeling pain, “Jane Doe” aborted her, according to the lawsuit.

Now, the “Does” are suing the clinic and three of its specialists, accusing them of subjecting their family to “physical and emotional pain and suffering.”

“Defendants’ misconduct robbed Ms. Doe of the ability to carry her own child,” the lawsuit states. “Ms. Doe and Mr. Doe are haunted by questions about what became of their embryos. They have needed to worry about whether their embryos were transferred to another unwitting couple, and whether they have another child or children out in the world whom they have never met?”

Or there is a chance that their children also may have been aborted.

More than likely, as a result of the publicity, there also are other couples suffering emotional pain as they wonder if their baby girl was the one who was aborted and if they could have done anything to protect her if they had known.